Fabio Silva keen to succeed at Wolves after learning how to drown out critics

Fabio Silva has learned to tune out the noise.

The Wolves striker has grown up in the spotlight but there is no self-doubt, just quiet confidence.

Arriving at Molineux in September for a club-record deal worth a guaranteed £35million, huge money for an 18-year-old with just one league goal for Porto, only increased the glare.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Fabio Silva has scored four goals for Wolves this season (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Yet his first Premier League start did not come until December as boss Nuno Espirito Santo eased him, while his first goal arrived later than month.

A prodigy in Portugal, Silva has been tipped for greatness and was compared to Cristiano Ronaldo when he was just 15.

Wolves only paid an initial £8million for the teenager, though, putting his price tag and development into context, and a mature and humble Silva knows there is no sense in listening to critics after his first steps in the Premier League.

He told the PA news agency: “At the beginning it was difficult because I’m 18-years-old, I’m young. It is difficult not to listen to these things and you have to have people around you at the club and at home.

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“My father, my agent, my family, you have to have good people who say ‘don’t listen and show you what is most important for you’.

“It was difficult to listen to some things but now I don’t care, I know what I can do for Wolves.

“It’s normal for people on the outside to speak about my transfer because of the money. People have to think and see – not only me – that players, when they come to a different league, need time to adjust.

“I don’t listen to what people say about me, I do my job, my work, I improve.

“I continue to do my work and listen to the people around me in Wolverhampton – these people are the most important.

“It’s normal, I understand the people saying at the start of the season I don’t play a lot or score a lot of goals but players don’t have to listen to these things.

“If you do, you don’t focus on the most important things.”

Indeed, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham, Silva has four goals in 29 league appearances – exactly the same as Ronaldo achieved in his first top-flight season at Manchester United.

Silva scored his first Premier League goal against Burnley in December
Silva scored his first Premier League goal against Burnley in December (Peter Powell/PA)

His goal at Burnley in December also saw him pass the Juventus star as the youngest Portuguese goalscorer in the top flight.

“I always say the same,” smiles Silva. “Cristiano is Cristiano, there is no one better. He has won everything in football.

“It’s crazy to break the record of Cristiano because he is the best, he is my inspiration, the guy I see as an example.”

Two goals in two games against bitter rivals West Brom has endeared him further to the Wolves fans during an inconsistent season for the club and it is clear goals mean a lot to the Portugal Under-19 international.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Bromwich Albion – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Silva has scored twice against rivals West Brom this season (Adrian Dennis/PA)

A tribute to his first strike for Porto is even inked on his on his left arm.

Among Silva’s many tattoos is one of him kneeling and celebrating scoring against Famalicao in a number nine shirt – which made him Porto’s youngest goalscorer – in 2019.

“It’s me, my first goal at Porto. I’m not number nine but it’s my favourite number,” he said.

“I tell you the truth, when I scored I forgot the goal. I listened to the fans sing my name, it’s crazy. At the moment, it’s the big moment.

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“I am a religious guy and I look at the tattoos and say ‘it’s part of me’. I don’t like to do tattoos that say nothing to me. I look at my sleeve and it’s part of me.”

As for now, Silva is looking forward to finally seeing his family again, including his father Jorge, a former Portugal international, having not seen him since before Christmas.

Having moved to Wolverhampton amid a pandemic, it has at least given the forward the chance to improve his English and the striker wants to make his mark in the Premier League.

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“I feel better now than when I came here. I’ve improved a lot and I have to say thank you to my team-mates, the coach,” said Silva.

“When you play things come naturally, the goals, the assists. You feel confident.

“You can’t always play free because you have rules and have to respect the rules and where the coach wants you to go. But I feel when I go to the pitch I am free.”